People without stars

What would happen if people lived without stars? That is, do systematic observations of the starry sky have any practical importance for humanity, or could people have done absolutely without them? To answer this question, let us imagine for a moment that the earth’s sky is completely covered with a completely opaque cloud cover, which completely excludes the possibility of observing stars. This will help us better appreciate the importance of astronomy for the development of mankind.

What would happen if people lived without stars?

So, the Earth without stars... There is no blue sky. No sun glare. There are neither stars nor moon. The eternal gloom of dull sad days... Undoubtedly, this would have left a certain imprint on the psyche of people. Probably, people would turn out to be less viable, and ideas about the world around us at the first stages of human development would be even more vague and mystical than in the real history of Earth civilization.

Recall how people learned that they live on the ball. The most convincing evidence was obtained from observations of lunar eclipses. Indeed, while we see on the moon, as if on a giant screen, the contour of the earth's shadow. It was noted that this contour is always, for all eclipses, a circle. But only the ball can cast a "round" shadow. Or, for example, the gradual disappearance of moving objects behind the bulge of the Earth. An eternally cloudy sky without stars could not prevent people from paying attention to the disappearance of ships beyond the horizon. But in order to proceed from this fact to the conclusion that the Earth was spherical, it was necessary to compare the results of similar observations made at various points on the planet with each other — one had to make sure that the Earth was "convex everywhere". And this requires communication between the continents, sea travel. But in the absence of stars they would be very difficult. How to go into the ocean or the open sea, without being able to determine your location, to check the correctness of the course?

Living on a cloudy Earth, people would not know that there are phenomena associated with the rising and setting of the Sun, but watching the morning and evening dawns from generation to generation, people would eventually notice that they obey certain laws. But, unfortunately, the orientation of the observations of dawn on a cloudy sky is too inaccurate, because as a result of the scattering of sunlight by clouds, it is extremely difficult to determine by eye the point of sunrise or sunset.

It is possible that if people lived without stars, the magnetic compass would have been invented much earlier, and it would have had to solve rather complex problems related to the counting of time; at the dawn of humanity, people determined the time by the sun, and at night - by the stars.

Anyway, a civilization that lives on a planet without stars at a certain stage of its development must inevitably face the problem of the universe. The system of knowledge cannot be complete if it does not include ideas about the structure of the world, about the place of the Earth in the Universe. The impossibility of observing the Universe and the development of science in general, the knowledge of the basic laws of nature would have a negative impact. For example, Galileo discovered his famous "principle of inertia", largely due to astronomical observations.

The data of astronomy formed the basis of such a revolutionary theory as the theory of relativity. As is known, one of the main tenets of this theory is the statement about the finite speed of propagation of light rays. But a purely earthly experience tells us something completely different; any event occurs at the very moment when we see it. And it is not difficult to understand why this is so: earthly scales are insignificant compared to the distance that light travels in one second. Only observations of phenomena occurring on a cosmic scale could destroy such an illusion.

Cosmos has brought us many other wonderful discoveries. The state of matter previously unknown on Earth and new sources of energy (in particular, atomic energy) were discovered here.

In general, a civilization that lives on a planet without stars would in many respects resemble a man blind from birth. But, not being able to extract important information contained in cosmic light, scientists, having reached a certain level in the development of science and technology, would have engaged in the study of other messengers of the Universe and, above all, their radio emission.

Thus, despite the inability to observe the stars, sooner or later, mankind would still overcome all the difficulties associated with it.